The Leopard Tortoise is known to biologists as the Stigmochelys pardal. “Stigmochelys” means “marked turtle.”
It’s one of the world’s larger tortoises, weighing in at 40 to 50 pounds as an adult. It’s 10 to 18 inches long.
The Leopard Tortoise is a hearty animal, living as long as 100 years.
You’ll find this animal in its warm, natural habitat in the savannas of Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Africa. Some are found in mountainous areas in Africa.
It doesn’t do well at all in northern climates. It’s cold-blooded and can’t adjust its body temperature to the cold.
These are mild-mannered animals. They don’t bite, but they also don’t like being handled very often.
A healthy animal will have clear eyes and a smooth shell. It will eat when healthy. If it refuses food, it may be ailing.
It receives its name from the distinctive leopard-like pattern covering its carapace. Some bony plates are raised. They look like tiny pyramids. Leopard tortoises in dryer areas tend to have lighter coloration. Those living in wetter environments are darker. Older animals grow darker.
Leopard tortoises love direct sunlight. They favor 40% to 60% humidity during the day and higher humidity at night.
These animals graze all day on grass and vegetable greens. Make sure the leopard tortoise’s food is well balanced between phosphorus and calcium. If this isn’t done properly, it will suffer from bone diseases.